Archer back from IPL, casting doubt over Ashes fitness

Jofra Archer’s injury woes continue as he returned home from the Indian Premier League, putting his summer Ashes hopes in doubt.

Mumbai Indians announced on Tuesday that Archer’s England team-mate Chris Jordan will take his place in their ranks after the former left the IPL last month to have a minor procedure on his right elbow.

His latest rehabilitation period means the 28-year-old faces a fitness battle to participate in the Ashes, with the first Test against Australia starting at Edgbaston on June 16.

The Indian Premier League outfit tweeted: โ€œChris Jordan will join the MI squad for the rest of the season. Chris replaces Jofra Archer, whose recovery and fitness continues to be monitored by ECB. Jofra will return home to focus on his rehabilitation.โ€

The England and Wales Cricket Board later confirmed Archer’s immediate return from the IPL, saying it has been โ€œchallengingโ€ for him to attempt to play on through the injury.

An ECB statement added: โ€œArcher has been recovering from right elbow surgery. However, pushing through the discomfort whilst recently playing, hoping it will settle, has proven challenging. Therefore, it has been agreed for him to return to the UK for a period of rest and rehabilitation to give him the best opportunity for a full recovery.

โ€œThe ECB would like to thank the Mumbai Indians for their support and cooperation during this time.

โ€œArcher will return to the UK this week and will work on his rehab with the ECB medical department and Sussex County Cricket Club, respectively.โ€

England’s medical team have been working closely with their counterparts in Mumbai, with Archer still only a few months into his comeback following stress fractures to his elbow and then his back.

He put in some encouraging performances on his England return in the white-ball tours of South Africa and Bangladesh, leading to suggestions he could have a starring role in this summer’s Ashes series.

Sussex indicated ahead of the county season that Archer may not play any first-class cricket for them before the Ashes, and the difference in workload between T20 and Test cricket is stark.

Chris Jordan will take Archer’s place at Mumbai Indians (PA)

Archer, who has not played a first-class match since May 2021, has been keen to play down expectations and said when he was out in Bangladesh recently: โ€œIf I can play one (Ashes) game this summer, I’ll be happy .

“If I play more than one, that’s just a bonus.”

England manager director Rob Key had hoped that Archer could play a major role across the summer, with the team’s first Test out coming against Ireland at Lord’s on June 1-4.

โ€œWe’re going to select for the Ireland test,โ€ Key told Sky Sports last week.

“Hopefully he’ll be available for selection for that, at this point I’m assuming he will be.

“Then we’ve got a crop of bowlers, Ben (Stokes) has spoken about how he wants eight bowlers, at least, ready for the Ashes, which we’ve got and more actually.

โ€œWe expect Jofra to be a massive part of that, and I think Jofra at some point will have a massive impact in the Ashes.โ€

Archer made his Test debut against Australia in August 2019 and has gone on to take 42 wickets in 13 Tests since.

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